Peoria Journal Star
January 31, 2007
Lawmakers criticize Bush for not visiting hardest-hit Illinois
WASHINGTON - As President Bush highlighted the strength
of the national economy Tuesday in Peoria, Sen. Dick Durbin blamed
the Bush administration's economic policies for the loss of
manufacturing jobs in the region.
Speaking on the Senate floor, the Illinois Democrat noted Bush
chose not to visit Herrin, where 1,000 jobs were lost recently
when Maytag Corp. closed its plant there or Pinckneyville, where
444 factory jobs were lost in March.
"The reality of America's economy is that on his watch we have
lost 3 million manufacturing jobs," Durbin said. "Some of them
have been replaced with jobs in convenience stores. But we all
know the harsh reality. A person working for a minimum wage in a
convenience store is not going to be able to take care of their
family like someone in a manufacturing job."
Durbin criticized the Bush administration for not doing enough
to enforce trade agreements.
"The Bush administration needs to stand up for working families
and fight off unfair trade practices that steal good jobs from
America," he said.
"If you want to know the real state of the economy, don't sit
down and talk to the economists," Durbin said. "Talk to the real
working families of Illinois and across America who are struggling
each day to make ends meet, going deeper in debt on their credit
cards bills and wondering if their kids will have as good a chance
in the America to come," Durbin said.
In a statement issued by his office, Democratic Rep. Phil Hare
invited Bush to visit nearby Galesburg, which lost 1,600
manufacturing jobs when Maytag moved its plant to Mexico - which
Hare attributed to unfair trade agreements. "Districts like mine
in western Illinois have been disproportionately affected by the
president's ill-advised economic agenda," said Hare, adding that
recent Labor Department statistics show that Illinois ranked 49th
in the nation in terms of job growth and economic recovery since
Meanwhile, health care, energy and education have become harder
for average families to afford, Hare said.
"Instead of working to ease the burden on people in need, the
president and his allies in Congress have pushed through enormous
tax cuts for the wealthy, leaving our children and grandchildren
with a projected $2 trillion deficit," he said.
"If the president wants to truly gauge the strength of the
economy, I invite him to visit Galesburg and cities like it to see
this 'middle-class squeeze' first-hand," Hare said.
Dori Meinert can be reached at (202) 737-7686 or